German security software maker G Data has discovered a spyware app now labelled Android.Trojan.Uupay.D. This spyware comes pre-installed on “Star N9500″ devices. The spyware disguises itself as the Google Play Store and can send information from your phone to China servers. According to G Data it is possible for the software to “retrieve personal data, intercept calls and online banking data, read emails and text messages or control the camera and microphone remotely”.

star-phone-2“The only thing users see is an app with the Google Play Store icon in the running processes; other than that, the application is completely disguised,” reports Christian Geschkat. “Unfortunately, removing the Trojan is not possible as it is part of the device’s firmware and apps that fall into this category cannot be deleted. This includes the fake Google Play Store app of the N9500.”

This has led to a fallout at eBay and some news outlets have reported all Star N9500 and even all China phones have been removed from eBay. “Due to reports that some Star 9500 smartphones are loaded with spyware, eBay is not allowing the sale of these devices as a precautionary measure,” eBay has stated to the

This seems to not be fully the case. Though it appears quite a few N9500 listings have been removed, our search done at Thursday, JUN 16th 5:00pm +7 turns up plenty of China phones listed and even the N9500 still listed.

Don’t panic

I would urge China mobile fans to not throw the baby out with the bathwater and immediately dismiss or slander Star. Something to consider is that it is very possible these phones with viruses are not truly Star phones at all. Many OEM phones call their phones “Star”, when in fact the phone is not released from Star factories.

This is certainly something that China phones didn’t need – another reason for the common consumer to not buy them. It doesn’t detract from them one bit in my eyes, but I can see how the average consumer could be scared off.

If you are someone who is new to China brands, do not fret. Those who are skittish about the issue may want to consider one of the more popular brand China models from a trusted shop and the issue can be avoided entirely, though it needs to be noted that I feel it is a very isolated issue and even the cheaper OEM phones are not to be shied away from. See further reports, solutions and user opinion on this issue at Chinaphonearena